Leawood-based fintech powerhouse C2FO didn’t raise nearly $300 million in capital by accident, nor without a strategy for selecting the right investors, Kerri Thurston told a crowd of founders, executives and investors gathered to celebrate the startups on Startland’s list of Kansas City’s Top Venture Capital-Backed Companies in 2019.
The Top Venture Capital-Backed Companies List recognizes the momentum pushing an emerging cohort of Kansas City growth-stage, venture-backed companies. Click here to check out the full list.
“Focus on folks who can really be an asset to you as an organization [not just a financial backer taking equity,]” said Thurston, CFO for the Sandy Kemper-led mega startup. “We have done a number of rounds, but from the beginning Sandy did an amazing job of ensuring that he was out talking to and working with people who could drive our ability to scale around the world.”
“In our most recent rounds, we’ve had investments from Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Germany and Softbank Vision Fund in Tokyo,” she added from the 29th floor of Stinson LLC in downtown Kansas City. “With each of those rounds comes the ability to enter new geographies with partners, who make introductions and appreciate the vision that we’re bringing to changing working capital.”
Click here to read more about C2FO’s recent $200 million investment from Softbank Vision Fund.
Click here to check out the full list of Kansas City’s Top Venture Capital-Backed Companies in 2019.
Presented by Kansas City-based law firm Stinson, C2FO and Mylo, the Top VC-Backed Companies celebration also highlighted local investment support for startups on the annual list. Equity2, KCRise Fund, Flyover Capital, Evergy Ventures, Lewis & Clark Ventures, Nebraska Angels, Dundee VC, LaunchKC, Five Elms Capital, and Fulcrum Global Capital, as well as Spectrum Reach, contributed to the celebration of momentum in Kansas City.
Overland Park-headquartered Bungii, for example, last week announced a $9.4 million funding round, with more than 95 percent of investments coming from Kansas City. Among the impactful backers was KCRise Fund, which recently unveiled its second fund and first three portfolio companies: Bungii, backstitch and Daupler.
Click here to read more about Bungii’s big funding news.
“The momentum feels good to me, but I’m not pounding the pavement on a daily basis for those early rounds,” said Thurston. “When we step back and look back at what we’ve been able to achieve in the past few years, what’s important to us is to be a resource to Kansas City.”
Startups should seek partners within the local ecosystem, she emphasized, to help their companies grow together even when they might have different customers and end games planned.
C2FO, for instance, provided early incubation space for Bungii in 2016 and 2017, and Sanjay Gupta, C2FO’s president and COO, serves on the younger startup’s board, Thurston said.
“We are extremely grateful to the whole team over at C2FO and can’t thank them enough for sharing their space with us during our company’s infancy,” said Harrison Proffitt, co-founder of Bungii. “They were, metaphorically, both the carrot and stick, holding us accountable to put in the hours while also aspiring us to chase that success. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
“When we work together, it will mean success for all of KC,” Thurston added.
Check out a photo gallery from the Top VC-Backed Companies celebration below.